Monday, February 28, 2022

President Donald Trump warned Western Europe of the peril of buying energy from Russia

From American Historian Heather Cox Richardson, a tried and true Democrat, whose views I often appreciate, and sometimes I think she needs to broaden her perspective. Likewise, Democrats, Republicans, MAGAs, Independents, etc.

Letters From an American 
February 27, 2022
Heather Cox Richardson 

Southern novelist William Faulkner’s famous line saying “The past is never dead. It’s not even past,” is usually interpreted as a reflection on how the evils of our history continue to shape the present. But Faulkner also argued, equally accurately, that the past is “not even past” because what happens in the present changes the way we remember the past.
Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the defiant and heroic response of the people of Ukraine to that new invasion are changing the way we remember the past ...

Sloan Bashinsky
I have seen several news articles that Congressional Republicans wanted harsh sanctions imposed against Russia before the invasion of Ukraine, to try to prevent a repeat of Russia taking part of Ukraine and Georgia some years ago, and the U.S. and the west did nothing. Yet, President Biden and Congressional Democrats did not want to impose harsh sanctions before Russia invaded Ukraine this time. So far, I don't recall Heather covering that part of the past that is the present. Here is a link to a February 24, 2022 CNN article I found just now.

Gee, wonder what happened to these promises from GOP senators??? Guess we could blame it on McCain for dying before they got it done.
Sloan Bashinsky
G.W. Bush was president when Russia invaded Georgia in 2008 and America did little to nothing. Barack Obama was president when Belarus and Russia took bites out of Ukraine in 2014 and America did little to nothing. And here we are, the past in the present, and Joe Biden is president, and he waited for Russia to invade Ukraine before he did anything more than talk. These are facts, regardless of which side tries to spin them. I'm fed up with both sides in America pointing the finger at the other side for everything awry. I feel totally disenfranchised by both the Democrats and the Republicans. Have felt that way a long time. I belong to no political party, view them as, well, cults.

Sloan Bashinsky
A friend email blasted that link today, it contains a video of President Trump criticizing Western Europe for buying energy from Russia and strengthening Russia and making Western Europe, especially Germany, dependent on Russia and weakening NATO.
Thank you Sloan - no sound on the video for me ... no doubt, he will take credit for any positive outcomes and slather blame onto others for any detriment ... and the mindless, All-American, all-consuming, commodified puffed up populace will eat it up like cotton candy at a country fair ... proof that yes, indeed, god does in fact love everyone ...? Snacks ...?
Sloan Bashinsky
The video with sound is playing for me right now. I don't know the forum, but it's a large table with lots of people around it, and Trump is warning about Western Europe buying energy from Russia. The host of the video, perhaps a Trumper, she seems of India or Pakistan origin and has British accent, also is commenting between clips of Trump speaking. I am not a Trumper, I detest the man. I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. I belong to no political party. I weary of the left and the right blaming the other sider for everything. Putin was indeed brilliant to get Western Europe hooked on Russia's oil and natural gas. Who's to say he was planning to take back Ukraine all along, but first he had to get leverage over Western Europe, and he also needed to work out something with Red China. I pushed in comments here in the past few days that Russia's oil and natural gas pipe lines to the west, south and east are Russia' Achilles heel, and if they were knocked out, Putin thought they were going to be knocked out, then maybe Putin would be a bit more hesitant and less arrogant and so forth.
Ah, I found you!! This blog gets all jammed up after a couple of hours - really hard to follow any conversation ... yes, I hear you ... I get visual - no audio ... we are pretty much on the same page .... This may be a good time to push for alternatives to fossil fuels in a big way ... have you heard of this?
SolarWindow Technologies Inc. (OTCBB: WNDW)
Check it out - I think it could solve a lot of problems in the energy field - just have to get past the interest groups focused on more and more money and profits - though it probably would be a good investment if it takes off ...
And check this out ... speaking of playing both sides ... earlier, I posted a letter from Teri Kanefield about the dynamics of today's geo-political dance:
MaryPat posted this in response:
"[Tucker] Carlson did an about-face so fast you’d think he would have gotten whiplash. He said: 'It’s a tragedy, because war always is a tragedy, and the closer you get to it, the more horrifying it seems. Vladimir Putin started this war, so whatever the context of the decision that he made, he did it. He fired the first shots. He is to blame for what we’re seeing tonight in Ukraine.'
Jaw dropping.
Hey Sloan, best wishes and peace to you!!
Sloan Bashinsky
I lived in Key West much of 2000-2018. Ran a few times for city and county commissions. There was no interest in the commissions for going all out toward solar. Key West had city ordinances banning solar panels on roofs, in front yards - unsightly, bad for tourism, historical preservation ambience. There is a public electric company that serves the upper Florida Keys, and a different public electric company that serves the lower Keys, including Key West. Their power generating plants are on the mainland, below Miami. Their joint public water purification planet is there. They pull water from an aquifer, and they have a desaline plant that removes salt from brackish water, and the two are blended and they send it through a pipe all the way down to Key West, which sells the water to cruise ships headed into the Caribbean. You'd think the lower Keys and Key West would want to be self sufficient for water, power, and in olden times they were. There is a large aquifer under the knoll on Key West, where locals once got their drinking water, but now that water is contaminated. There were rain catch cisterns all over Key West. Many islands had cisterns and fresh water aquifers. All no longer in use except a couple of remote islands. I simply use this as an example of the resistance to America going solar, for example. Perhaps someday science will figure out how to generate power from water. Meanwhile, it may be a race between humans destroying the planet and themselves, and wars doing it.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Perhaps Vladimir Putin needs a huge dose of Rasputin

Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was a Russian mystic and self-proclaimed holy man who befriended the family of Nicholas II, the last Emperor of Russia, and gained considerable influence in late Imperial Russia. Wikipedia

Please. Let's focus on reality, not mumbo jumbo.

Sloan Bashinsky
Did you open the links OP provided? 

Did you read my comments to OP? Have you ever had direct contact with an angel, a demon? If not, you are missing out on a lot of reality. Blowing up Russia's oil and natural gas pipelines to the west, south and east of Russia would be a reality Putin, all Russians and many Europeans perhaps cannot possibly begin to imagine. Putin dropping dead from a massive coronary, then the next day Trump following suit, would be a reality a lot of Russians and right side and even left and middle side Americas would have difficulty appreciating.
Angels and demons? Sigh…
Sloan Bashinsky
What do you think drives Putin? Trump? Demons is what drives them. Owns them. You want to stop Putin with human methods? Then, pray the sanctions will work. If not, let him get away with it, or blow up his oil and natural gas pipelines. Lots of people inside and outside of Russia will suffer if that is done, but it will bankrupt Russia. It also might unhinge Putin and incite him to use nukes and then we are in the novel ON THE BEACH and its all over but the shouting. If Putin dropped dead from a heart attack tomorrow, that would cut off the head of the snake. Same if Trump dropped dead of a heart attack tomorrow. Not holding my breath that will happen. Maybe a huge artic freeze with blinding blizzard will cover Ukraine and freeze the exposed Russian troops to death. I'd love to see in writing how you would stop Putin and get his army out of Ukraine.
Demons are convenient metaphors. Just because stopping Putin will not be easy, or quick, does not mean that angels and demons are real. Putin will fail, in the end, as all despots have failed. I think it will be a combination of things that will bring him down. A prolonged insurgency in Ukraine, making control of that country very costly. A united NATO, isolating Putin and Russia economically and politically. And most importantly, protests by Russian citizens, fed by Russian soldiers returning home in body bags along with economic deprivation from sanctions, leading to Putin being overthrown. Putin won’t win.
Sloan Bashinsky
No metaphor, re what drives Putin and Trump. Demons are very real and they own both men, just as they owned Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin. But it may be that you are not able to see that in your human form, but later you will be able to see it. 
Meanwhile, I hope you are right about how it plays out for Tsar Putin, although it might have come about quicker if the Republicans in Congress (I belong to no political party) had gotten their way about imposing heavy sanctions on Russia before the Ukraine invasion, with the carrot that the sanctions would be lifted if Russian troops stood down and pulled back.
A very interesting Esquire expose of Tsar Putin showed up in my email inbox yesterday. It's by Charles Pierce, and its title is "Putin Is a Thief Among Thieves", and if it somehow escapes the Russian censors and goes viral in Russia, it might cause Putin a wee bit of unhappiness. 

Putin Is a Thief Among Thieves
Ever since the Russian military began its extended imperial sojourn into Ukraine this week, the American press has been doing some long-distance spelunking through the mind of Vladimir Putin. Is he trying to establish a facsimile of the Soviet Union? Is he drunk on the illusion that he is divinely called to empire, the way the Tsars used to be? Is he just an international thug on a land-grabbing crime spree? Is he on some kind of kamikaze mission to take western democracy down with him? 
I suspect it’s all in there somewhere, amid a dozen other dark motives nobody’s thought of yet. But there is one thing that should not get lost in all the noisy speculation. Putin in a king thief. Moreover, he is a thief among thieves. Almost everyone who got wildly rich after the USSR came apart is at least half-a-thief. Putin is more than that.
In January of 2021, supporters of jailed Russian activist Alexander Navalny released a video Navalny had filmed describing a massive and opulent palace that Putin had built along the Black Sea. According to the video, the palace is 39 times the size of Monaco. From the BBC:
The report claims the property in the resort town of Gelendzhik was constructed using illicit funds provided by members of Mr Putin's inner circle, including oil chiefs and billionaires. "[They] built a palace for their boss with this money," Mr Navalny says in the video. It alleges that Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) owns some 27 sq miles (70 sq km) of land surrounding the private residence.
The report describes various details of the property, and claims it features a casino, an underground ice hockey complex and a vineyard. "It has impregnable fences, its own port, its own security, a church, its own permit system, a no-fly zone, and even its own border checkpoint," Mr Navalny says in the video. "It is a separate state within Russia," he adds. "And in this state there is a single, irreplaceable tsar. Putin.
Putin’s government, of course, denied all this, and Navalny is still in jail. But clearly, Putin is particularly tender on the subject of his personal wealth, how he got it, and what he’s been doing with it. In 2014, Karen Dewisha, a professor at the University of Miami in Ohio, published a book about how the kleptocracy produced Putin, and how he has come to dominate it because of the political position into which the kleptocracy propelled him. She traced the roots of his wealth back to the end of his time with the KGB, which grabbed every ruble it could as the USSR was coming apart. In an interview with NPR, Dewisha explained what happened next.
Putin has created a system where he nationalizes the risk and privatizes the reward. So when we think about the Sochi Olympics, for example, it's well-known that they cost about $50 billion and most of those contracts were awarded as no-bid contracts to people close to him. And billions were made by them. Another example would be the collaboration of Putin's closest circle in the establishment and funding of Bank Rossyia, a bank that has emerged as one of Russia's top 10 banks that receives a lot of government state budgeting, but it's a private bank. So here you have a case where the money to fund comes from the state and the profit goes to friends of the current president.
Estimates are that Putin now has a net worth of somewhere in the vicinity of $200 billion, almost none of which he’s actually earned. The number first originated with Bill Browder, an American fund manager who’s been a harsh critic of the Putin regime ever since his tax attorney, Sergei Magnitsky, died in custody in Russia. However, since Putin touched off the Ukraine crisis, according to Bloomberg, many Russian billionaires have taken big hits. Did the kleptocracy create Putin, or was he its natural protector? What is certain is that he considers any attempt on his fortune to be the equivalent of a military attack. It’s about the money because, in this world, it’s always about the money.
It's all about the money, because the money isn't just money.
In April 2016, Reuters ran a story in which Putin threw a nutty. Not long before, the so-called Panama Papers exploded into the news in a massive torrent of financial documents that demonstrated in gruesome detail the many ways in which the world’s plutocratic elite dodged taxes, laundered pilfered millions, and otherwise concealed a huge portion of the world’s economy. Prime among these usual suspects were a number of Russian plutocrats with ties to Putin. From the initial report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists:
The records show Roldugin is a behind-the-scenes player in a clandestine network operated by Putin associates that has shuffled at least $2 billion through banks and offshore companies, an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung and other media partners has found. In the documents, Roldugin is listed as the owner of offshore companies that have obtained payments from other companies worth tens of millions of dollars. A company linked to the cellist also grabbed secret influence over Russia’s largest truck maker, another snagged a big slice of Russia’s TV advertising industry.
It’s possible Roldugin, who has publicly claimed not to be a businessman, is not the true beneficiary of these riches. Instead, the evidence in the files suggests Roldugin is acting as a front man for a network of Putin loyalists – and perhaps for Putin himself.
Roldugin, it should be noted, is a cellist. He is perhaps the world’s richest cellist. He is also one of Putin’s childhood friends.
(The leak also ensnared Petro Poroshenko, then the president of…wait for it…Ukraine.)
When the story broke—with, this being 2016, no apparent sense of irony—Putin used a televised phone-in town hall to call the leak a sophisticated act of Western ratfcking. From Reuters:
“Who does it, these provocations? We know that there are some staff of official American institutions,” he said at an annual televised phone-in with the Russian public. Putin said that German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, which he said had been first to publish the Panama documents, belonged to a leading U.S. bank. “Süddeutsche Zeitung is a media holding company owned by an American financial corporation, Goldman Sachs,” he said. “That is, the ears of the instigators are sticking out everywhere, but they do not even redden.”
“We should not be expecting them to show any kind of a remorse. They will keep on doing it and the closer to the (Russian) elections, there will be more of that stuff.”
(One of the other theories at the time of the leak was proposed by a Russia specialist for the generally sober-sided Brookings Institute who postulated that the Panama Papers leak itself was an elaborate plot by…wait for it…the Russian government.)
Now, with the United States and its allies ratcheting up the financial pressure on the Russian oligarchs, it’s helpful to note that Putin has been charging that Western “institutions” have been targeting the various Volga Bagmen since long before the current crisis. Moreover, in 2017, the Washington Post reported that, in a book published by two Russian authors, the Panama Papers leak was said to be a precipitating event in Putin’s effort to ratfck the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As one of the authors told the Post:
We also believe that the meeting of the Russian Security Council on April 8, when Putin urgently gathered only the most trusted officials — most of them with secret services background — could be the meeting when a very sensitive matter was discussed, such as the need for a retaliatory response to the Panama Papers exposés.
It was seen as an attack on personal friends of Putin, his immediate circle. It's a line you cannot cross with Putin, and the Russian media learned that in a hard way. When a small Moscow publication reported in 2008 that Putin divorced and was going to marry a famous gymnast, the publication was immediately shut. When the RBC media holding published stories about Putin's daughter in 2015, the media holding's owner corporation was raided by police, and the media holding soon changed hands. Worse, Putin believed the Panama Papers attack was sponsored by Hillary Clinton's people — this, in a way, provided him with a “justification” for a retaliatory operation.
Without the support of the oligarchs and the piles of money they’ve stashed around the world, Putin is an old KGB hand telling spy stories in some dim bar in St. Petersburg. Beyond his own natural gifts as a dictator, he is a creature of the Russian kleptocracy. It is the river in which he swims, the air that he breathes, the thick, poisonous fog in which he hides. He exists as a world leader only on the strength of what he and his cronies have stolen. He knows it and the kleptocrats know it. I suspect a goodly portion of the Russian people know it, too. After all, they’re the ones from whom it has been stolen, day after day, year after year, up until this moment.
Ultimately, in an important way, this has been all about the money. So much is all about the money. In the annals of human folly and human disasters, it’s the constant in so much crime and sorrow, and it is the one thing that never, ever changes.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Ukraine represents desperate times ... and desperate measures?

A response to yesterday's the Russian bear is a genius, because it knows America and Western Europe have really small hands

Ol’ Flawriduh Cracker
In thinking about this we Americans should all be willing to spend $6 per/gal at the pump for at least 18 months if that will enable us to squeeze Putin’s cojones every freaking’ day. I know, this is worse than asking a Republican to give up three rounds of golf in a year. However, if we really believe in Democracy and the right of self determination…
Oops! I just realized that like Putin, Fascist loving Republicans HATE Democracy too…
Sloan, I think we are in desperate times for more than obvious reasons.
Sloan Bashinsky
People in Europe and Great Britain have been paying much more for gasoline all along. They will pay even more for gasoline and natural gas, if, say, Russia's oil and natural gas pipelines were to be visited by lots of, say, hellfire missiles. Europe and Britain and other areas then would have to find oil and natural gas elsewhere, and that certainly would, I think, drive up the price of gasoline at the pump in America, Canada, and elsewhere. While Russia doesn't retaliate, of course. But how would Russia retaliate? Well, that's kinda an unknown. A scary unknown even.
I don't see a solution anyone will like. Desperate times indeed.
Someone said today, if Europe and Great Britain and America and Ukraine had not pushed for Ukraine to join the west and NATO, none of what is going on in Ukraine right now would have happened. But then, we have the Russian invasion of Georgia a while back to remind us that the Russian bear dances to its own tune.
I think its fair to say that money still talks, and the way to respond that will bother Putin and Russia the most is their pocketbooks. Biden and the western country leaders have barely started $queezing the bear's cojone$$$ via $anction$. But then, back to the hellfire missile strikes. Imagine the bear without oil and gas pipelines to the west, east and south.
Meanwhile, consider this in a Reddit group into which I waded my mouth before engaging my brain.

We Can Literally Reduce War Through Meditation
Whenever you're feeling like there's no hope in the world, however overwhelming it may be, remember that such hopelessness is only one dimension of consciousness. There is another dimension of consciousness that we can freely tap into whenever we like; it's the dimension of deep peace and unity.
In fact, during these times, it is even more necessary to tap into. There needs to be people on this planet who hold that frequency, for if there were none who did this, we would surely plummet into a much darker reality.
Look into 'The Maharishi Effect'. There were various studies in the 90s and 2000s where scientists measured the number of meditators praying for peace against the statistics of violent crimes. They found that the more people who were meditating, the more violent crimes would decrease. We can literally reduce war through meditation, this has been scientifically proven, yet nobody talks about it.
So in times like these imagine the effects of when bad news is reacted towards with even more pain and suffering on a global scale... Clearly, there needs to be neutralizing forces.
This all implies how each one of us has a certain level of responsibility to hold a certain vibration of peace in our state of being. We directly affect our environment in ways we can barely imagine. Our thoughts create our world, as Buddha put it 🙏
See these resources:

How do you know this?

Did you even bother to click the links op shared?

You got me there. I just now did that. I read of such studies some years ago. Perhaps Reddit should send these two studies to President Biden, who holds himself out as a devout Catholic?
I saw in the news that prayers and thoughts were being sent by President Biden and Americans to the people in Ukraine. I wonder if that had any effect on progress of the Russian invasion?
I wonder if America and all nations should each create government funded mediation groups of 1,000,000 people, whose full-time paid job, with medical and other job benefits, is to meditate for peace unceasing.
I understand there are groups that pray for peace and for other beneficial things unceasing.
Meanwhile, the people of Ukraine are facing what I think the entire left side of America may some day face if Donald Trump is reelected, and perhaps even if he is not reelected but remains active in American politics. All the more reason for President Biden to pay 1,000,000 Americans to meditate unceasing for peace in America (first take the beam out of our own eye), and elsewhere?
As for the beleaguered people of Ukraine, it seems right now they could use a force majeure intervention, a miracle of some kind, that causes Putin and his troops to pack up and go home. Perhaps a monster blizzard?
Perhaps President Biden threatens to blow up all of Russia's oil and natural gas pipelines from Russia to other countries? Perhaps President Biden actually does that and the Russian people join the people of Ukraine and Western Europe and elsewhere in their misery and they revolt against Putin?
Or, hmmm, instead of all of that, Putin has a massive coronary and dies? And the next day, Donald Trump has a massive coronary and dies?

Friday, February 25, 2022

the Russian bear is a genius, because it knows America and Western Europe have really small hands

Responses to yesterday's What does Ukraine teach about America and its leaders?

Anonymous (at this blog)
Good to hear from you! We may often disagree but I like your perspective.

Your comment contradicts itself. I came not to care much for anonymous public discussion, yet it is popular in many places, and sometimes is necessary to protect free speakers' loved ones from mean or crazed people, such as what Donald the Great woke up and galvanized and exalted in America, and encouraged elsewhere - such as, Vladimir Putin. Then there is Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who tried to overthrow Hitler and went to a concentration camp. Author of a book about real Christianity, "The Cost of Discipleship," vs. what he called "cheap salvation", Bonhoeffer said, "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless."

FG (in online spirituality group)
It’s tough because you never want to impose sanctions to PREVENT something because that can be read as a threat/aggression and lead to worse outcomes. So I can understand the rationale of wanting to wait on sanctions.
And for everything else…. Of course Trump is calling Putin a “genius”. Far right suddenly applauding RUSSIA, and supporting acts of violence is so upside down to me. Like WHAT?! The only person that would applaud this is someone who wants to be LIKE Putin. What does Vladimir dislike? Democracy and all of its terms/conditions.

The longer you wait to face the inevitable, the more power the inevitable is given.
Praying, visualizing, kumbayaing, talking, handwringing, edtorialing, etc., didn't stop Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao, for examples.
Imposing heavy sanctions, which hit the Russian people really hard, caused them great unhappiness, caused them to howl and shriek in whatever ways they are allowed to do that in their society, might have caused Putin to waiver. Might.
But then, why would Putin waiver after watching the genius American government's response to Trump and his co-conspirators' Capitol coup attempt?
Putin prepared by making arrangements with Red China to soften the sanctions Putin knew would come.
Biden, the West, kept trying to use diplomacy, threats of sanctions. How did that work out for Ukraine?
Putin's Achilles heel is Russia's natural gas and oil pipelines running west, south and east to other countries. That also is the West's Achilles heel, as Western Europe heavily depends on Russian natural gas and oil.

From today's New York Times:

Good morning. Why aren’t the U.S. and its allies imposing tougher sanctions?


Partial measures

Western leaders have described the sanctions that they have imposed on Russia as “strong” and “severe.” And the sanctions will damage the Russian economy. After the U.S. and Britain announced new measures yesterday — making it harder for Russian companies to raise money or import goods — an index of Moscow’s stock market fell more than 30 percent.

But it’s also worth taking a look at the potential sanctions that the U.S., Britain and the European Union have chosen not to impose. They are almost certainly more severe than the sanctions going into effect. A full-scale diplomatic response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could include:

  • Suspending Russia from international organizations, like the SWIFT network of banks (as Representative Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, suggested yesterday) and the Interpol network of law enforcement (as Garry Kasparov, the Russian opposition figure, has called for).
  • Seizing apartments, yachts and other assets owned by many members of the Russian elite in London, Miami and elsewhere, as Anne Applebaum of The Atlantic has suggested.
  • Cracking down on Vladimir Putin’s propaganda tools in the West, including the RT television network, and on people like Gerhard Schröder, the former German chancellor who now works for a Russian oil company.
  • Perhaps most significant, sharply reduce purchases of Russian oil and natural gas, by far the country’s largest source of revenue.

That the U.S. and its allies have chosen not to pursue a more aggressive path helps explain why Putin has been willing to take the enormous risk of starting the most significant war in Europe in 80 years. He believes that his enemies will respond in a limited way. Not only will they decline to send troops to Ukraine; they will fight only a limited economic and diplomatic battle, too.

This decision could change at some point, of course. For now, I want to help you understand why the Western response has been so limited.

Three reasons

1. Sanctions will hurt the West, too. “It’s very hard to get countries to sign up for truly tough sanctions against Russia,” Michael Crowley, who covers the State Department for The Times, told me. “It comes at a cost to their own economies.”

Freezing out Russian banks could create problems for the global financial system. Hurting Russia’s energy industry would increase prices when inflation is already high and angering many Western workers. The effects would often be largest in the E.U., which may explain why European officials have often been more dovish on sanctions than American or British officials.

(Here’s an explainer about why the U.S. cannot unilaterally cut off Russia from the SWIFT financial network — and why some Europeans have reservations.)

“The European Union is Russia’s largest trading partner, accounting for 37 percent of its global trade in 2020, and receives a third of its energy from Russia,” my colleague Patricia Cohen wrote. “The flip side of mutual interest is mutual pain.” Matina Stevis-Gridneff, The Times’s Brussels bureau chief, adds: “The reality is that many of the tougher sanctions are considered too onerous for Europe.”

One unknown is whether the ugly reality of war in Ukraine — as opposed to merely the prospect of it — will make Western leaders and citizens more willing to accept economic costs. If not, Putin’s gamble may have succeeded, which autocrats elsewhere will no doubt notice.

2. The West worried about closing off lines of communication. Western allies have started to impose more measures designed to hurt Russian oligarchs and top officials. But the sanctions have not yet targeted the very top officials, including Putin, nor have they cut off many Russian elites’ access to the West.

The result, as Applebaum has written, is that much of Putin’s inner circle has felt insulated from sanctions (including those imposed after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014). Rather than seizing the assets of Russian elites and expelling their children from boarding schools and universities, the West has tried to negotiate. In effect, Applebaum argues, two sides in this battle are playing by different rules.

“Western leaders and diplomats,” she wrote, “think they live in a world where rules matter, where diplomatic protocol is useful, where polite speech is valued. All of them think that when they go to Russia, they are talking to people whose minds can be changed by argument or debate. They think the Russian elite cares about things like its ‘reputation.’ It does not.”

3. The West has wanted to move slowly — both to retain future options and to avoid aggravating the crisis.

As Matina reports, the E.U. is keeping some sanctions in reserve. Doing so will allow it to impose them if Putin later expands the war and will also keep open a channel of communication with the Kremlin, officials say. Critics of this approach, on the other hand, say it “gives the impression of proportionality to a completely outrageous move by Putin which should be met by shock and awe,” Matina said.

For now, the critics are losing the debate.

Dmitri Alperovitch, an American technology executive born in Russia, argues that a full-on sanctions program would bring major risks, too. It could debilitate Russia’s economy and make Putin fear for his regime. Russia might hit back by restricting energy exports, to increase inflation and cause political instability in democracies. Russia could also launch cyberattacks.

“This outcome — a hot conflict between two nuclear powers with extensive cyber capabilities — is one that everyone in the world should be anxious to avoid,” Alperovitch wrote in The Economist. It’s a reminder that there are rarely easy answers once a war begins.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

What does Ukraine teach about America and its leaders?

It's now a full scale Vladimir Putin invasion backed by made up facts (mantras) reminiscent of the President Donald Trump incited full scale invasion of the U.S. Capitol. 

If the American Congress, President Joe Biden, the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Federal Law Enforcement, Homeland Security, NSA, CIA and the U.S. Military did not arrest and detain permanently Donald Trump and the Capitol invaders, for Sedition and Treason, how do you suppose that looked to Putin, whom 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump invited to help him get elected, which Putin right a way went about doing? 

After Putin was made president for life, newly elected President Donald Trump said he liked that idea (for himself).

I see no way for America and Western Europe to use conventional military methods to stop what is happening in Ukraine, without making it a whole lot worse for the Ukraine people and ending up in yet another long, protracted foreign war that cannot be won, but the rich white men military-industrial complex will profit handsomely.

Dropping several tactical low yield nukes on Moscow, with assurances of more of same in other large Russian cities, if Russia doesn't pronto withdraw completely from all of Ukraine, is a kamikaze option Dr. Strangelove certainly would appreciate, as well as the author of the novel ON THE BEACH.

What seems left to try to get Czar Putin's attention is for the West to impose every possible sanction against Russia, and the West stops exporting food and anything else to Russia, and the West expels all Russian nationals after freezing all their assets.

Too harsh? Really?

Does President Biden have the cojones to do be that tough with Putin, even if no other Western ally does it? That remains to be seen.

Will Donald Trump do it if he is re-elected? Do pigs fly?

Will Donald Trump attempt another takeover of America, if he is reelected? Read his lips.

*Historical Note

U.S. Congressional Republicans wanted to impose stiff sanctions on Russia to try to prevent what is happening now in Ukraine. Congressional Democrats and President Biden wanted to wait until after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

soul alchemy v. Planet Disney

This below is one way to view humanity on Planet Disney:

A channeled message about Earthly incarnation.
Spirit Guide 😇

The following was made clear to me and I believe it during many sessions over the last four years.

1. Earth is a very unique and special place historically

2. It's a great place to earn experience

3. It's cut off and very dark/off track

4. We are protected from ourselves

5. It's incredibly exciting as incarnations go

6. There's a waiting list so to speak, and it's in demand

7. We have more celestial hosts present as witnesses than we could ever imagine.

8. Among genetic variations in all the worlds, we're in the top 10 percent. Lots of diversity in ascending beings and flora/fauna.

There's so much more but I thought I'd share. Basically the point is, this is a good place, and you are exalted, revered and loved in the highest regard by the visiting hosts.

Re-read 3?


For better and/or for worse, starting early 1987, in my 45th year, I was directly captured and redone and redirected by angels, who did not tell me, or anyone, what I, or they, wanted to hear about me, them, humanity, etc. For me, the transition and ensuing journey was and often still is difficult beyond my wildest imaginings.
Although there are people who are advancing, evolving spiritually, in the main, humanity is devolving, by cloning itself spiritually, by being cut off from the feminine, by being half, or less, of what they could be. This is across the board, regardless of spiritual or religious persuasion, or lack thereof.
I was given a second set of eyes, ears, sensors, etc., so that I see human goings on as I used to see them, I hear as I used to hear, I sense as I used to sense, I think as i used to think, but I have an entirely different way of doing all of that, and it is truly like being from another planet on this planet.
Above so below, below so above, is very much in play on this planet and around it in other realms. That's why I asked did you re-read #3?
This jumped out of me in spring 1994, which rang true for me and cast God into a light seemingly unfamiliar to today's religions.

"Earth, the sacred prism through which souls are refracted into their elemental parts, purified in Holy Fire, then one-forged and sent on their way to not even God knows where, simply because they are all unique emanations of God, evolving..."

Later, I got to meet Evil, the Devil, Lucifer, demons, up close and personal, in myself, in everyone else.
As within, so without; as without, so within.
Soul alchemy is not a picnic, not a party. It is very hard, persistent, endless work.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

poor Donald, Hillary spied on him, his accounting firm flipped to the District Attorney

February 14, 2022 
Heather Cox Richardson

It appears there was a reason for the former president’s unhinged rant of yesterday suggesting that members of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign had spied on him and that “in a stronger period of time in our country, this crime would have been punishable by death.” 
Trump is likely unhappy because of a letter his accountants, the firm Mazars, sent to the Trump Organization’s chief legal officer on February 9. That letter came to light today when New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is investigating the finances of the Trump Organization, filed new court documents to explain why she wanted to question Trump and his adult children under oath. 
The Mazars letter told the Trump organization that Trump’s financial statements from years ending June 2011 through June 2020 could not be relied upon to be accurate, and that it should tell anyone relying on those documents—banks, for example—that they were not reliable. It went on to say there was now a “non-waivable conflict of interest” with the Trump Organization that meant that Mazars was “not able to provide new work product” for the organization. 
Lawyer George Conway interpreted the letter for non-lawyers. He tweeted:
“‘decision regarding the financial…statements’=they are false because you lied
‘totality of the circumstances’=the D.A. is serious 
‘non-waivable conflict of interest’=we are now on team D.A.
‘not able to provide new work product’=sorry we’re not going to jail for you”
That is, it appears that Mazars is now working with James’s office. Last month, James’s office alleged that there is “significant” evidence that the Trump Organization manipulated asset valuations to obtain loans and avoid taxes. Now Trump’s accountants appear to be working with her office and have said that Trump’s past ten years of financial statements “should not be relied upon.”
This will probably be a problem for the banks that have loaned money to Trump. Their officers have likely relied on the accuracy of the information Trump provided, and according to lawyer Tristan Snell, the lenders could now call in loans early or otherwise change the terms of their agreements.
The Trump Organization jumped on the statements in the Mazars letter that “we have not concluded that the various financial statements, as a whole, contain material discrepancies,” and that “Mazars performed its work in accordance with professional standards” to claim that it is exonerated from any wrongdoing. “This confirmation,” it wrote, “effectively renders the investigations by the DA and AG moot.” 
NBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner tweeted: “Trump Org[anization] tries to spin it as a complete exoneration (& G[eorge] Orwell blushes).” Orwell was famous for identifying “doublespeak,” language that reverses the meaning of words.
But while the fear of what it means for him that his accountant has dropped him might have inspired Trump’s rants about executing Hillary, the same does not hold for Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), who on Sunday’s Fox & Friends broadcast agreed with Trump that Clinton’s aides had spied on him, and implied the punishment for such alleged espionage should be death. 
The normalization of violence as part of the mainstream Republican Party is cause for concern.

Sloan Bashinsky

Poor Donald, wish I could feel sorry for him. 
Alas, Hillary and the DNC "coup" resulted in the Democrat nominee (Hillary) Donald could beat in 2016. 
Often in 2016, I said at my blog that Donald and Hillary were flip sides of the same awful coin and they both should be looked up, in adjoining cells. 
But as for Treason, it was Donald who invited Russia to help him against Hillary in 2016, and I always felt that bordered on Treason, when I did not see Hillary at that time being friendly with Russia (Putin), which clearly preferred Donald in the White House. 

Here's the "red-eyed" American law on Treason:

Section 3.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

18 U.S. Code § 2381 - Treason
Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

I imagined Russia (Putin) felt there was a better chance under Trump that the Magnitsky Act sanctions against prominent Russians might be lifted, than if Hillary were president, even though President Obama, Hillary and John Kerry had opposed passage of Magnitsky by Congress until Congress threatened not to normalize US business relations with Russia. 
The webs we weave ...

Back toward the future, what else but treason could the January 6, 2021 invasion of the U.S. Capitol at the behest of poor Donald be?